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Frequently Asked Questions

BITTERNE PARK SCHOOL & TOWNHILL JUNIOR SCHOOL – FEDERATION PROPOSAL

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Federation?

Federation is a means where schools can make a formal agreement to work together. It is different to the academy process because the schools agreeing to federate remain as Local Authority Community Schools where they will continue to be regarded as individual schools, keeping their existing Department for Education (DfE) category and their funding structure etc. The change to their status only comes at governance level, as the governing bodies of the schools federating become a single governing body.

Why have the governors decided to take this route?

Initially, Townhill Junior School (TJS) approached Bitterne Park School (BPS) with the idea that they had a need for a more formal level of support from a local school. They agreed that ‘working together’ in this way would embrace the ethos of both schools to provide the best possible education to their communities and continuity and consistency in education for children throughout the majority of their time in school.

Why didn’t both schools decide to become Academies?

This is an option that both schools have looked at individually and together. The federation model met the aims of both schools best as it will provide a firm mechanism for partnership whilst keeping both Townhill Junior’s and Bitterne Park’s autonomy and individuality.

However, the decision to federate will not prevent both schools becoming academies should that be viewed as the best route forward in the future and we continue to monitor the situation carefully. The process for this cannot happen without full consultation of all staff, parents, carers and all other stakeholders.

What does this mean for the feeder schools?

There will be no changes to the arrangements for existing feeder schools for both schools. It is desired and intended that all the schools that ultimately feed their students into Bitterne Park School will be able to benefit from the best practices and shared experiences of this more formalized approach to working together in the best interests of our children.

Will it change staff employment contracts?

No, both schools will remain under local authority control and all staff contracts will remain as they are today.

How will it alter the management structure?

Both schools will continue to be run with the same management structure as they are today, under the control of their respective senior management teams. However the formal link between the schools will afford opportunities to share best practices across both environments.

Are there financial implications?

Both schools will continue to be funded individually by the local authority and on the same basis that they are now. There may be some areas where it will prove advantageous and demonstrate good practice to share services which could draw some financial savings.

Will there be opportunities for staff to work across both schools?

Staffing roles will remain unchanged but the partnership will encourage an open sharing of knowledge and skills across both schools that could offer opportunities for staff to gain experience and expertise in both primary and secondary sectors.

Are either school going to change its uniform or name?

There will be no change to the uniforms or names of either school. Each school will continue to operate with the same school start and finish times as they do now. There may be opportunities to align INSET days where the needs of staff across both schools correlate.

Will the admissions policy be affected?

Admission to each school will remain unchanged and continue to be determined by Southampton City Council. Just as it is possible today, the new Governing Body has the opportunity to review the admissions policies of both schools in consultation with the local authority.

Will there be changes to the headships?

No, both schools will remain as separate schools under local authority control and with their existing headteachers, as they are today, with the secondment of Mr Nicholson to Townhill Junior being extended again out until Summer 2017. It will only be the governing bodies who will join together to form one single body for both schools and who in the future will be responsible for the headteacher appointments to both schools as and when the need comes.

How are the staff being consulted.

The staff will be consulted in the same way as all stakeholders and will be able to feedback directly to their respective governing bodies through the existing Staff Governor representatives.

Can this decision be reversed?

Yes, a federated school can decide to leave the federation or all schools within the federation may decide to dissolve the arrangement, but not without a full consultation much the same as this one to bring us together.

Where can I get more information?

Both schools will be holding open meetings where presentations will be made and questions can be raised.

Queries or comments / feedback can also be emailed to:  federation@bitterneparkschool.org.uk or posted/handed in to either school’s offices marked  ‘for the attention of the Governing Body – Federation’.